Black walnut flooring is one of the most highly sought after, stable, and beautiful varieties of hardwood flooring available today. Versatile black walnut wood can be cut in various widths and lengths and specially finished to meet specific flooring needs and design plans. Its unique marbled appearance assures easy blending along with a rich unique look that is certain to please the discerning homeowner. It’s also the greener choice for those who seek a dark hardwood floor without using stains or treatments.
American black walnut, or Juglans Nira, is a tree species native to the eastern United States and portions of Canada. Prided for its rich, dark grain patterns and dimensional stability, black walnut wood has been used for cabinet and gun making and furniture manufacture as well as carpentry for centuries. It is also considered one of the most valuable commercially cultivated and wild harvested hardwoods today. Due to intense color contrast and its ability to resist humidity related checking (cracking, splitting, or warping damage due to fluctuations in temperature or moisture conditions), black walnut laminate flooring is certain to enjoy popularity for many years to come.
There are two parts to black walnut wood beneath the bark, the sapwood and the heartwood. Softer sapwood is a very pale color that many feel is close to vanilla but can be much whiter. Heartwood is the darker, harder wood whorls, hallmarked in black walnut floors as an intense grain that can be as dark as purplish shades close to iris, eggplant, or plum. Most of the time, heartwood is almond to deep semisweet chocolate-rich brown. Color intensity and grain density is often an indication of age, finishing technique, and related value.
As a rule of thumb, the older the black walnut tree is, the richer the color of the wood and typically the most desirable as well. Older trees are therefore a great deal more valuable than younger trees due to higher-quality heartwood content. This is because the aged heartwood, which is the firmer, deeply-tinted wood streaks found denser in older black walnut trees, is more prevalent than the sapwood, which is the soft, pale young wood content. Younger trees still offer consumers a lasting beauty however, and responsible foresting practices assure black walnut wood will be readily available for future building indefinitely.
Black walnut is a potentially consistent renewable source of hardwood due to the fact that it is fast growing and hearty. Most black walnut floor companies support regular conservation, replenishing harvested wood with saplings, and purchasing supply from environmentally conscious farms and timber companies. Though not the most desirable tree for an urban setting, American timber companies find black walnut wood to be a wonderful and hassle-free investment when planted on level well-draining soil, and a stand of black walnut trees can become a staple income boost for savvy farmers today.
Whether the decorative style is for intense beauty or a charming rustic feel, there are many considerations to keep in mind when selecting black walnut hardwood flooring. Grading and finish are typically the first choices available to homeowners. Black walnut hardwood floors can be machine cut, hand cut, or combination. Planks can vary in thickness, width and length. They can be solid singular planks or planks engineered to be a combination of boards. Flooring can be unfinished, coated, treated, micro-bevel factory pre-finished to remove knots and diminish flaws, or a combination of treatments. In addition, grain can be mostly whorled, straight, wavy, or a variety. Some of the intense color variations can be treated with steam, but this is not always preferred. Depending on the rarity of finish, age of the wood, and the labor intensity for creating the plank, prices for black walnut flooring can vary greatly.
Treating black walnut flooring after installation requires little effort, but it is recommended in most cases. Though the beautiful color patterns make staining typically not recommended, a good coat of polyurethane is a great way to extend the life of the floor. Most black walnut flooring factories add a satin finish during the milling process to reduce the look of age related damage.
Black walnut flooring can have a few age related issues that may add charm, but will be undesirable for some homeowners. The wood tends to lighten or fade with age if exposed unprotected to certain types of light. This affect can be controlled with a special coating of UV protectant or the use of thick light blocking curtains in some rooms. In addition, black walnut is a softer wood than most other hardwood varieties so it will likely suffer damage in high traffic areas and should never be cleaned with oil soaps or thick wood treatments. It is also recommended that black walnut flooring never be soaked but instead damp-mopped for cleaning. With the right level of care, black walnut flooring can be a lasting beauty that increases the value and enjoyability of any home.